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Should True Torah Jews accept the State of Israel's health benefits and family aid?


Dear Rabbi,

Should True Torah Jews who live in Israel accept family aid, health insurance and any other benefits given to Israeli citizens?


Dear Moshe,

In order to be eligible certain health benefits and family aid, one must first become a citizen of the State of Israel. How can a Jew in good conscience declare himself a part of this great sin? In the years of the British Mandate, when the British recognized the Zionist Vaad Haleumi as the main kehillah, all the loyally religious Jews went out specially and declared that they were yotzei from the Vaad Haleumi. The Jews of Jerusalem went to great lengths to establish their own kehillah, the Eidah Chareidis, separate and distinct from the Vaad Haleumi. When the British left in 1948, the embryonic Zionist Agency and its various organizations became the new state. Can we today go out specially and declare ourselves members of that state?

When the state was founded, the Chazon Ish ztl refused to take out an identity card and become a citizen. Reb Amram Blau ztl refused to sign any document implying recognition of the state, to the point that when he was in jail he would not sign the papers to help himself get out.

In 1952, the Zionist government announced that every Jew residing in its borders would automatically become a citizen of their state on July 14, unless he submitted a petition before that date. Rabbi Amram Blau and many others submitted the petition to abstain from citizenship.

Lest you say that this is all triviality and the main thing is that in our minds we know that the state should not exist, and our actions do not matter remember the words of the Sefer Hachinuch: A person is influenced by his own actions. After the actions the hearts are drawn.

Besides all this, it is hypocrisy to preach that the state should not exist and then accept money from it. Some people feel it is wrong to accept money from Germany or even to buy German products. Even today, 60 years after the German crimes, they feel it is hypocrisy to speak against the deeds of Germans then and at the same time enjoy German cars or mixers today. What then can we say about the Zionist state, which has on its hands the blood of 14,000 Jews, and has destroyed hundreds of thousands of Jewish souls, aside from the fact that its very existence is a sin, and it continues to exist today? It would be like taking money from the Germans during their murder of the Jews. (This comparison was made by Reb Dovid Soloveitchik shlita.)

The bribe blinds the eye of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Whoever wants to come to the true Torah conclusion about the Zionist state must first cut himself off from all bribes which disable his thinking. Whatever one decides about Zionism, let him decide it with a level head.

And one more point: the Jewish community in Eretz Yisroel has been crippled for many years by its inability to function normally. It is financially unstable. No Jewish young man is allowed to work, for once he leaves kollel he is forced to report for army duty. Fighting to defend the great aveirah that is the state is out of the question, so they all stay in kollel indefinitely. No one has enough money. Many are reduced to a lifetime of begging. If the State of Israel were to realize fully that the loyal Jews are not part of their state at all, refuse even to be citizens of it, then of course they would not be forced to fight in the army and they would be free to live and work as they please. Does the United States force the Indians, those who do not wish to be part of the U.S., to fight in the army? The Indians are even exempt from taxes, and the police are not allowed to patrol their reservations. Similarly, does the Israeli government force the Palestinian Arabs to fight in the army? So too with the loyal Jews of Eretz Yisroel: if they refuse all benefits, renounce citizenship, refuse to vote, then the government will recognize them as an independent community and won't bother them anymore.

For those who are, for whatever reason, already citizens of the state, there may not be at present any official way for them to renounce their citizenship. Such a way may be devised in the future. More importantly, if we show (by refusing benefits) that we're serious about not being part of it, we can count on a look-the-other-way policy on their part, such as exists in the case of the Arabs. Most of the Arabs who live within the pre-1967 borders have citizenship, and most even vote, yet they are not forced to serve in the army.